Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

14 Dishes for a Picturesque Sunday Brunch

March 26th, 2017

sunday brunch ideas food

By Joseph Temple

A good weekday starts with a good breakfast, but a great Sunday starts with a great brunch!  These ideas will be a sure fire hit at your next mid-morning gathering.  Bon Appetit!

blackberry panckes brunch
1. Blackberry Pancakes


Swiss Cheese Mushroom Panini brunch
2. Swiss Cheese Mushroom Panini


Granola and yogurt brunch
3. Honey Toasted Granola and Greek Yogurt


Lobster hollandaise brunch
4. Poached Lobster & Eggs with Hollandaise


Scandinavian open face sandwiches brunch
5. Scandinavian Sandwiches


Custard and fruit pastries brunch
6. Custard and Fruit Pastries


Frittata brunch
7. Veggie Frittata


Croissant eggs Benedict sandwich brunch
8. Croissant Eggs Benedict Sandwich


Croissant eggs Benedict sandwich brunch
9. Classic French Omelet


Scrambled eggs and toast brunch
10. Simple Egg Breakfast & Cappuccino


Belgian waffles brunch
11. Belgian Waffles


Crepes brunch
12. Crepes


Fried eggs and tomato toast brunch
13. Fried Eggs and Tomato on Toast


Toad in a hole brunch
14. Toad in a Hole


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Ask Sid: How to Maintain Cellar Humidity?

March 22nd, 2017
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Maintaining wine Cellar Humidity?

Question: My temperature controlled wine cellar in Scottsdale Arizona seems to do the job OK. But it seems almost too dry in there and I would like more moisture. Any tips?

Answer: Some systems have a “Demister” function and other humidifier options for maintaining a higher level of humidity (best between 55-70%) to help keep those corks from drying out. You probably don’t want the humidity any higher than that as this will encourage the growth of mold on the walls, bottles and labels. Check carefully for what you presently have or can easily add on. However, the simplest cheapest less accurate method is just to add a few larger surface open water containers on the floor to allow for evaporation. For a better cellar look you could get a fancy decorative fountain humidifier. Hope you find your “solution”.

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BC Shellfish & Seafood Festival

March 20th, 2017

BC Shellfish & Seafood Festival

Seafood remains a popular hot commodity here on the West Coast of North America. The annual BC Shellfish & Seafood Festival and the BC Seafood Expo were established to drive national, international and regional long term awareness of the importance and diversity of all seafood. It has become the largest seafood marketing campaign in Western Canada with the next one their 11th scheduled with some 30 events from June 9-18, 2017 in the Comox Valley on Vancouver Island ( and A media launch to help promote this upcoming Festival was held in Vancouver on March 15 with several highlights including:

1. Seafood menu selections were prepared by local chefs. Launch menu attached shows some of the innovative uses for seafood in outstanding culinary dishes. Rich moist sablefish was a delicious choice either baked in a taco or grilled after being marinated in mirin & tamari. Chinook salmon tartar uniquely served in a crispy dry-aged Prosciutto cup celebrated melded flavours and textures. Steamed mussels with Thai aromatics and Clams Creole style brought big flavours. Dependable year round available Steelhead from Lois Lake was turned into spicy gravlax.

2. Geoduck ( “nature’s buried treasure” is trendy. I blogged about this special item back on March 21 of last year. Nostalgic memories of fast digging for these special clams in the sands of Boundary Bay many decades ago. Still makes a super chowder. It remains in high demand in the Orient continuing to drive up the price. Top fresh product can now be found locally but at the price of around $40 per pound. Smart service by Chef Nathan Fong using small portions as sashimi with miso mustard. Special treat.

3. A variety of many oysters were available. Diverse preparations from freshly shucked, panko breaded or even pickled with bull kelp! Fanny Bay Oysters ( located in Baynes Sound on Vancouver Island since 1984 grow, process, market and distribute their farm grown oysters (as well as Manila & Littleneck clams and Salish mussels) as eco-friendly and are now the largest shellfish farm (17,000 square feet) in Canada. They now have opened their own oyster bar & shellfish wholesale & retail market “From Tide To Table” at 762 Cambie Street in downtown Vancouver.

4. Salish Sea Foods ( is wholly owned by the K’omoks First Nation indigenous people with a wide selection of smoked salmon nuggets from a moist dense meatier style to the drier “salmon bacon” jerky ones.

Celebrate these treasures of the sea!

BC Seafood festival

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Where is the World’s Most Northerly Vineyard???

March 18th, 2017

Olkiluoto power plant wine vineyard

By Joseph Temple

Over the years, this blog has profiled several winemakers applying their craft in some of the most unfriendly weather conditions possible. Let’s face it—when we think of wine, most of us conjure up images of Bordeaux, Burgundy, or Napa Valley—not places like Quebec and Minnesota. At the same time, you can’t help but tip your hat to those vintners who are defiantly standing up to Mother Nature and successfully harvesting grapes in some of the chilliest areas of North America. It also makes you wonder how far (or how north) winemaking can go?

It turns out that Canadians and Americans aren’t the only ones pushing the envelope. Germans have been making wine on the island of Sylt for years while countries such as Denmark, Latvia, and Norway all have vineyards. But the award for the world’s most northerly vineyard goes to Finland; just north of the 61st parallel is a place that makes a little under 2,000 pounds of Zilga grapes annually.

In the Gulf of Bothnia, on Olkiluoto Island is a vineyard in one of the most unlikely places you would expect to see viticulture: right next to a nuclear power plant. “Flanked by a dense forest, the deep green plants protrude into a clear blue sky,” writes one journalist. “There is a soft breeze. It could almost be France. But the vines are shadowed by two imposing concrete structures and several tall red cranes.” Of course, given the arctic-like conditions (temperatures can drop to -5.6 C during the winter), the vines on this quarter acre of land greatly benefit from their atomic neighbor. Because of the heat generated by Olkiluoto, the vineyard is warmed by the waste coolant water, which is non-radioactive and flows through a series of underground pipes.

With 150 vines first planted in 2001, the Zilga is a fast-maturing grape which comes from Latvia and is known to produce abundant harvests while being resistant to harsh winter weather. However, getting your hands on a bottle might be tough. “Of course we don’t sell it,” said one plant employee. “It’s for our staff parties.”


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Ask Sid: IW&FS Vintage Card & Chart

March 15th, 2017
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Ask Sid: IW&FS Vintage Card & Chart

Question: I like the IW&FS Vintage Chart and find it useful as an overall wine guide. Your thoughts?

Answer: As a long time past member of the IWFS Wines Committee I like your question! The Vintage Card was started by Andre Simon as a one sided guide to the Old World wine regions. Produced annually since then it has grown to include most of the world wine regions now in a laminated foldable 8 sided version. The original ratings of using a 7/7 for best vintages has been retained in spite of pressures over the years to move to a 100 point scale. Usually covers the vintages over the past 20 years with some older classic vintages also noted. The International Secretariat ( gathers lots of useful background information each year from the wine regions and valuable input from appointed regional wine consultants to help the Wines Committee make their final decisions. It remains a highly respected unique valuable general guide to the overall quality level of vintages in so many wine regions. Glad you use it.

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